“He denied it” is a pretty flimsy defense.

No judge in a criminal court would dismiss a case simply because the accused entered a “not guilty” plea. No suspicious girlfriend would accept a lover’s easy-to-debunk denial of infidelity. No parent would allow his child to avoid punishment by claiming it wasn’t they who put their Furby in the dishwasher and broke it.

And yet, it’s the first line of defense for a White House that can’t seem to stop aligning itself with men credibly accused of sexual misconduct, predatory behavior, and misogynist bullying. When you’re a man in Trump’s orbit, a denial counts as exoneration.

Today, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter resigned after a pair of stories alleged that he had a history of domestic abuse. The first story ran last night, after two ex-wives came forward to The Daily Mail. Porter’s first wife Colbie Holderness told the British tabloid that Porter “was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and that is why I left.” Porter’s second wife Jennifer Willhoughby gave the Mail a similar story. Willhoughby filed a temporary protective order against Porter in 2010, when he refused to leave their apartment and punched through a glass door.